Electro-waste, Eco-waste, and Amazon Sales from 2022 Onwards

What is electro-waste and eco-waste? Increased consumer and corporate awareness is resulting in an increasing number of solutions being introduced globally to take care of the environment. 

From 2022, e-commerce sellers in France or Germany will have to comply with the Extended Producer Responsibility regulations. This change also concerns selling on Amazon. Non-compliance with the new rules could result in your account being locked. See what new obligations await Amazon sellers in 2022.
Electro-waste, Eco-waste, and Amazon Sales from 2022 Onwards
By reading this article you will learn the following:
1. 2022: Electro-waste and new obligations of Amazon sellers. 2. EPR on Amazon – seller’s responsibilities.3. 3. How does EPR affect Amazon sales? 4. What is ElectroG? 5. What is BattG? 6. What is VerpackG? 7. What does the electro-waste and eco-waste registration procedure look like and how much does it cost? 8. Future forecasts: new obligations under EPR coming soon.? We invite you to read our piece!   This article was prepared with the support of Magdalena Barylska, an expert from our partner Take-e-way, a European-wide company that, since 2014, has been offering services related to the registration and recycling of waste remaining from use of electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, rechargeable batteries, and packaging materials.  

2022: Electro-waste and new obligations of Amazon sellers

    2021 has brought quite a few changes for sellers on Amazon, and this is not the end of them. From 2022 onwards, any e-commerce seller that offers its products in France or Germany will be required to provide a certificate of registration and EPR compliance . What is EPR? Extended Producer Responsibility is a new environmental policy. The European Union introduced the policy with the aim of improving environmental quality, ensuring waste reduction, and promoting recycling In Poland, this regulation is part of the Waste Management Act, which includes the Extended Producer Responsibility amendment. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (2012/19/EU) is an example of EPR, as it talks about the proper take-back and recovery of waste appliances. Its implementation is achieved with ElectroG According to this policy, it is the manufacturer that is responsible for the entire life cycle of the products it puts on the market, from their design to the end of their life (including waste collection and recycling). A company is considered a manufacturer if it produces, imports or sells a product that is subject to the EPR.  

EPR on Amazon – Seller’s obligations

  If the seller is selling in France or Germany, they need to enter the EPR registration number on their account. We are bound by the registration number for packaging (LUCID) and WEEE in Germany, and all EPR product categories in France.  

How does EPR Affect Amazon Sales?

  As a result, sellers on Amazon face a number of changes that relate to checking the packaging register certificates. Amazon is responsible for ensuring that sellers operations comply with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations in the country of sale. If you do not obtain certification, your listings will be suspended or even deactivated, pending registration and certification. If you don’t comply with your obligations, your account could be lockedIf you are a seller in France who does not provide the required certifications, Amazon will pay the ERP premiums to eligible Producer Responsibility Organisations on your behalf and collect the funds from you. The registration and reporting obligation is applicable to all direct sales to the final consumer. As a result, it applies to all sellers on Amazon.  

Electro-waste – what is ElektroG?

  The ElektroG3 amendment to the WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU) has been in force since 1 January 2022. The Directive has defined the correct take-back and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment since 2005. The aim of proper waste management is to reuse raw materials, reduce the amount of waste to be disposed of, and to maintain a high level of eco-awareness. The Elektro- und Elektronikgerätegesetz, known as ElektroG, is a German system for dealing with electrical and electronic waste based on the EU WEEE directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). Registration is handled by the EAR.  

Who has to register with ElektroG?

  The obligation to register is imposed on:
  • any entity that manufactures and sells electrical equipment under its own brand on the German market (B2C and B2B sales);
  • any entity that commissions the production of electronic equipment under its own brand and sells it on the German market (both B2C and B2B sales);
  • an importer who sells electronics directly to consumers in Germany (B2C sales);
  • distributors who sell unregistered goods;
  • all companies, including those selling on Amazon, who sell electronic and electrical equipment in Germany, France and Austria.
Interesting fact: Amazon will have to check if the seller is registered for ElektroG from January 1, 2023.  

Electro-waste – categories of electronic equipment subject to registration:

  • heat exchangers,
  • monitors and screens,
  • lamps,
  • large and small electronic devices,
  • small data communication equipment.
Certain electronic accessories have been exempt from registration. These include, for example, light bulbs, research tools, medical or military equipment, means of transport, or large stationary industrial equipment. pastedGraphic.png /Obligations arising from ElektroG Novelty in ElektroG3: Manufacturers of B2B devices must have collection proof. Consumers brings old devices to the recycling point EAR indicates companies which are to collect full containers from the recycling point. Manufacturer has the collection obligation, which cannot be transferred to a third party; it must report monthly quantities to EAR/  

Electro-waste – ElektroG products labelling

  Specific labelling for products that fall under the certification is required by ElektroG. Products registered with ElektroG are required to have a permanent graphic sign on them informing users about the prohibition on disposing of electronics into common waste. It is a graphic mark in the form of a crossed-out rubbish bin with a black line underneath. The brand mark must also be included on the product packaging. The branding must be permanent and recognisable, placed on the product itself. In addition, we must not forget to mention the registration number in the offer and on the invoice when we are selling online. Attention! Starting from 1 January 2023, the crossed-out trash bin symbol will also apply to B2B devices. Electro-waste is not everything! Batteries also pose a major threat to the environment. Chemical processes involving toxic elements such as lead, cadmium or mercury take place in them. Furthermore, they contain an electrolyte with corrosive properties.  

Electro-waste: What is BattG?

  BattG – Battery Registration Act. It was introduced as a way to deal with the risks of storing and treating batteries in an incorrect way. Under the Battery Regulations, manufacturers of batteries are required to correctly label their products, submit reports, join a battery recovery organisation, and properly recycle their batteries. Attention! Following the September 2020 amendment, the battery register is maintained by the EAR – the same authority that registers the ElektroG. Until the end of 2021, you had to re-register with EAR from the previous office that handled BattG, UBA to keep your registration and certificate.  

Who has to register with BattG?

  The obligation to register batteries is imposed on any manufacturer that sells in Germany. Those who are not established in Germany are required to register their batteries via a representative. The obligations of battery manufacturers are the same as those arising from the correct management of electro-waste. It is necessary to place the label with a crossed bin and to recycle batteries. The following products are subject to BattG registration:
  • portable batteries – they are sealed and can be carried in the hand, and are not classified as industrial or automotive batteries;
  • automotive batteries – used in starters, lighting and vehicle ignition;
  • industrial batteries –  intended exclusively for industrial, professional use, or for use in electric vehicles.pastedGraphic_1.png
/System of portable batteries collection Consumers bring old batteries to sales/voluntary collection point / Consumers bring old batteries to the recycling centre Recovery organization ->UBA/EAR office -> Manufacturer/Importer -> Trade  

Eco-waste – what is VerpackG?

  VerpackG and eco-waste are an important topic. More than 15 million tonnes of packaging waste are sent to landfill in Germany every year. The plastics recycling rate is 36% Artificial plastics are a major environmental issue – they are difficult to separate for recycling and take up to 1000 years to decompose. The Verpackungsgesetz law, known as the Code de environment in France, is concerned with promoting the recycling of packaging by making the existing recycling system in Germany and France tighter, and making the law applicable to as much packaging introduced into the market as possible. What does it mean in practice? Every trader selling in the two aforementioned countries is obliged to register in the LUCID register, which was created under VerpackG regulation. Then they must join one of the dual product recycling systems. These systems operate under the assumption that a fee will be paid for allowing the packaging to be put onto the market, in return for the company offering the system later assuming the obligation to collect, sort, and recycle the packaging. Failure to register might be costly –  with fines of up to EUR 100,000.  

Who is obliged to register packaging under VerpackG?

  The obligation to register applies to manufacturers, understood as the entity that first introduces packaging into the market. In the case of B2B sales, the entity covered by the obligation to register is determined by the Incoterms rules (International Trade Rules). In the case of Amazon, the responsibility lies with the seller, who is also obliged to register the shipping packaging starting from 1 July 2022.  
Electro-waste – packaging from the following materials must be registered:
  • paper and cardboard,
  • plastic,
  • metal sheet,
  • aluminum,
  • glass,
  • composites,
  • and others.
The register covers sales packaging (a component of the goods offered, e.g. a shoebox), outer packaging (product packaging), and transport packaging.

What does the electro-waste and eco-waste registration procedure look like and how much does it cost?

  Is the registration process for the electro-waste, batteries and packaging register expensive? The registration itself is only free of charge in case of LUCID. In the case of ElektroG and VerpackG – in Germany, companies that do not have the registered office there cannot apply for registration themselves. They must have their own representative. The authorities also impose registration fees. In France, registration is only possible through the local recovery organisation, which can also generate costs. Financial obligations related to waste liability also must be taken into account. The amounts vary from country to country, also depending on the amount of waste reported. However, the registration process is not an easy one and requires meeting additional requirements. For example, when registering for the LUCID system, you are required to sign a contract for the packaging you will put on the market. You also have to check on your own which packages require registration in the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister catalogue. By addressing the matter efficiently at the EAR and in the LUCID system, you can avoid large financial penalties and the blocking of your Amazon account. It is worthwhile not to do it on one’s own and hire professional help.  

Future forecasts: New obligations under EPR coming soon

  What new obligations will sellers face in the coming months? ‘If we are selling in Germany, in the absence of a registration number in the EPR compliance portal on Amazon Seller Central, we can expect a suspension of listings from 1 July 2022 in the packaging category, both primary (i.e. product packaging) and secondary (i.e. shipping packaging), and in the electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) category from 1 January 2023. Furthermore, new rules regarding the labelling of packaging and electronic devices will take effect in France on 15 December 2022. It is advised to prepare for the upcoming challenge with expert support. This is certainly not the end of the changes that sellers will have to comply with,’ Magdalena Barylska, expert from Take-e-way